Rosberg baffled by lack of pace in Hungary qualifying, but happy to shadow Hamilton’s strategy


Nico Rosberg was unsure why he lacked the pace to challenge Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton for pole position in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Rosberg qualified second at the Hungaroring on Saturday, half a second back from Hamilton as the Briton stormed to his fifth consecutive pole position.

Throughout the session, Rosberg reported that he was experiencing understeer on his Mercedes W06 Hybrid car, and finished just two-tenths ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in third place.

Speaking after qualifying, Rosberg admitted that he was clueless as to why he was so far behind Hamilton.

“I don’t have an explanation,” Rosberg said. “Qualifying went pretty much to plan with everything but I didn’t find the pace.

“It’s been a bit up and down all weekend for unexplained reasons, so just need to look into it tonight. Definitely not happy with how it went today.”

Rosberg currently trails Hamilton by 17 points at the top of the drivers’ championship, but after seeing the Briton finish fastest in every session so far this weekend in Hungary, he will know that a drastic change in fortunes is required if he is to cut the gap.

One such way of making this happen could be by opting for a different strategy to Hamilton, but Rosberg told NBCSN that he does not believe that this would be wise.

“The problem is that there’s too much luck involved then because we can only predict the best strategy and the best strategy should go to the guy in front on the grid, he should be allowed to use that,” Rosberg said.

“For the other guy to just go on another one and get lucky with it and win, that’s not really fair, so I think it’s fine like that.”

When told by NBCSN that luck is a part of racing, as seen in Monaco earlier this year, Rosberg said: “I use skill.”

The Hungarian Grand Prix is live on CNBC and Live Extra from 7:30am ET tomorrow.

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans

LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.